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Spelling Connections

Spelling Connections Video Program Overview
Opportunities Beyond Words!

Spelling Connections | Spelling Instruction Program

Provide all your students the missing piece to the literacy puzzle: explicit spelling instruction. With Zaner-Bloser's spelling curriculum, Spelling Connections, your students will retain, internalize, and transfer valuable spelling knowledge for improved results in all areas of literacy-in the classroom and beyond.

Unlike integrated spelling instruction delivered through core reading programs, this spelling curriculum provides complete, explicit instruction that

  • utilizes a five-day plan with a page-per-day format-everything you need to deliver effective instruction without the need for extensive planning and prep work.
  • delivers meaningful instruction and practice including differentiated word sorts to promote higher-level skill development in thinking, phonics/vocabulary, reading, and writing.
  • includes diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments to monitor progress, including integrated standardized test practice for improved results on state assessments.
  • integrates technology tools for engaging, relevant spelling instruction and practice.
  • contains embedded professional development that provides proven strategies for successful classroom instruction.
  • reinforces English language acquisition with meaningful differentiated instruction for English Language Learners at all levels.

Word Lists

The word lists in Spelling Connections ©2012 are the most carefully researched and crafted available—compared to other stand-alone spelling curriculums and core reading programs. Our word lists have been expanded and structured to provide true differentiated instruction for all levels of students and for English Language Learners. Word lists are organized so students can see the relationships among words, visually reinforcing valuable pattern and rule-based instruction.

About the Author

"Give spelling the consideration it deserves and put effective spelling instruction back into your curriculum.
With Spelling Connections, your students will be prepared for twenty-first century literacy success that translates beyond the classroom."

J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D.
Spelling Connections Author

Dr. J. Richard Gentry, a nationally acclaimed expert in literacy with particular research focus in spelling and beginning reading development, began his career as a classroom teacher. He earned his Ph.D. in reading education from the University of Virginia and served as professor of elementary education and reading at Western Carolina University.

Dr. Gentry's research, writing, and extensive work with students and teachers for over thirty years have had a powerful impact on promoting literacy. In addition to writing popular books such as The Science of Spelling, Spel...Is a Four-Letter Word, Teaching Kids to Spell, Breakthrough in Beginning Reading and Writing, and Raising Confident Readers, Dr. Gentry conducts workshops that have helped thousands of school districts adopt better practices for spelling instruction.

Watch video of Dr. Gentry answering questions from teachers and parents about spelling instruction.

Core Materials

Student Edition and Student Edition eBook provide comprehensive daily spelling practice by connecting spelling to thinking, phonics/ vocabulary, reading, and writing through engaging exercises and activities.

With the Student Edition eBook (available for Grades 1–8), you can

  • create and save notes.
  • highlight text
  • search for words or phrases
  • use with interactive whiteboard

Teacher Edition and Teacher Edition eBook include step-by-step lesson plans, weekly test options, and activities for daily differentiated instruction. Word Sort CD-ROM is included in every Teacher Edition.

Great for at-home planning, the Teacher Edition eBook (available for Grades 1–8) allows you to

  • create and save notes.
  • highlight text.
  • search for words or phrases.

Teacher Resource Package (available for Grades 1–8), includes
Teacher Resource Book for Differentiated Instruction, Standardized
Test Masters, Spelling Support for English Language Learners with
Audio CDs, and Audio Posttest Sentences CDs. Game Mats
(English version) also included in Grades 1–6 Teacher Resource

eResources CD (available for Grades 1–8) includes the Teacher Resource Book for Differentiated Instruction, Spelling Support for English Language Learners with audio conversations, and the Standardized Test Masters in an easy-to-use digital format. These materials can be reproduced or projected.


Support Materials

Spelling Support for English Language Learners offers vocabulary practice and teaching strategies to accelerate English Language Learners' language acquisition. Available for Grades 1–8.

Standardized Test Masters includes instructional unit tests for all differentiated word lists. A variety of standardized test formats provide valuable practice for high-stakes tests. Available for Grades 1–8

Teacher Resource Book for Differentiated Instruction provides reproducible materials that support the program’s differentiated instruction. Also includes Home/School Spelling Practice letters in English and Spanish. Available for Grades 1–8

Audio Posttest Sentences CDs contains weekly posttest dictation sentences for all differentiated word lists in every unit. Use to support English Language Learners and to administer the weekly spelling test. Available for Grades 1–8

Flip Folders provide students immediate feedback to correct mistakes as they learn correct spellings. This study tool makes practice easy and fun! Pack of 5

Game Mats provide fun, hands-on spelling practice and are perfect for partner and center work. Pack of 3 games. Available in English and Spanish for Grades 1–6

Spelling Research: A Guide to Curriculum Planning contains the most recent independent research about spelling and spelling instruction. 244 pages. Softcover
ABC Poem and Picture Charts for Kindergarten presents each letter of the alphabet in both picture and poem format. Flip chart includes clear acetate overlays. Oversized, 20" x 30"


Interactive Whiteboard Resources

Digital Resources for Spelling Connections offers interactive whiteboard activities to enhance teaching and learning. These whole- or small-group activities allow you to introduce the spelling concept, guide practice, and invite students to the interactive whiteboard to participate in exciting games and activities that connect spelling instruction to thinking, vocabulary/phonics, reading, and writing.

Here are just a few of the things you can do:

  • Model and practice key spelling concepts using interactive word sorts.
  • Differentiate instruction using the differentiated word lists from each unit.
  • Reinforce visual learning to increase recall with meaningful, hands-on proofreading practice.
  • Prepare the whole class for the weekly test with a spelling bee.
  • Use the Digital Dictionary to obtain definitions and examples of usage for all words in the program.


Program Resources

Reinforce the instruction found in this effective spelling curriculum with exciting, grade-level appropriate online games and hands-on activities.

Extend the learning in each unit of the Student Edition with rewarding, grade-level appropriate games and activities including:

  • Word Sorting
  • Sentence Completion
  • Proofreading
  • Spelling Bee.

Home Spelling Practice pages are provided in both English and Spanish for each Spelling Connections unit. These pages may be printed for use

• at the beginning of the week to introduce the current spelling words.
• at the end of the week to preview next week's spelling words.

Homework Master pages (English only) may be printed to provide additional spelling practice in a game-like format.


View the Scope and Sequence for Spelling Connections Grades K-8. Download

In this audio series, Dr. J. Richard Gentry gives you ideas you can use immediately in your classroom to help your students become proficient spellers. Topics include Word Sorting, Flip Folders, Test–Study–Test Method, and Pattern-Based Spelling Instruction.


See how Spelling Connections aligns to the Common Core State Standards for Grades K-8.


The Flip Folder Study Technique incorporates visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile procedures for learning correct spelling. Download the directions for making and using Flip Folders, including a useful Flip Folder practice master.


 Sample What's Inside Grade Level
Student Edition
eStudent Edition
Teacher Edition
eTeacher Edition
Digital Resources for Spelling Connections
Spelling Connections Online Games
Word Sort Cards
Standardized Test Master Book
On Level
Below Level  
Above Level  
English Language Learners Support Book
Teacher Resource Book for Differentiated Instruction
On Level
Below Level  
Above Level


Aug 14
During the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a de-emphasis on focused spelling instruction in American schools. In their enthusiasm for more holistic approaches, many educators believed that learning to spell would happen "naturally" if students had wide experiences in reading and writing.
Aug 14
Students who are self-regulated learners set goals for themselves and then independently plan, manage, and evaluate what it takes to reach their goals.
Aug 14
Zaner-Bloser editor Marytherese Croarkin met with spelling expert J. Richard Gentry in Texas to discuss issues in spelling education.
Aug 14
Spelling Connections (c)2012 Bibliography
Aug 14
Research showing that Spelling Connections provides differentiated instruction based on ELL levels.
Aug 14
Excerpts from Literacy Work Stations: Making Centers Work by Debbie Diller
Aug 13
A research white paper by J. Richard Gentry, Ph.D., and Steve Graham, Ed.D., re-posted with permission from Saperstein Associates
Jun 20
From affecting literacy to influencing credibility, experts explain why spelling skills are essential.
Jun 19
Zaner-Bloser has updated its popular spelling program, Spelling Connections, with expanded technology tools.
Jun 19
A discussion with Richard Gentry and the research behind Spelling Connections

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